Thursday, December 23, 2010

ACLU to Feds: Force Abortion on Catholics

The American Civil Liberties Union put the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on notice that forcing abortion in Catholic hospitals will be their next attack on religious liberty.

-- From "ACLU: Catholic hospitals must save women" posted at UPI 12/22/10

[The ACLU letter cited] the actions of Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Olmsted Tuesday declared St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix no longer follows Catholic teaching.

Olmsted excommunicated Sister Margaret McBride, a hospital vice president, after she participated in the decision. Doctors had said the woman, 11 weeks pregnant, was likely to die if the pregnancy continued.

"The Bishop's drastic and heavy-handed actions send a chilling message to Catholic hospitals throughout the country, as well as their employees: If hospitals comply with federal law and provide emergency abortion care there will be consequences," the ACLU said. "The dioceses cannot be permitted to dictate who lives and who dies in Catholic-owned hospitals."

The bishop said the hospital has been complicit in other violations through Mercy Care Plan, the state plan that provides health coverage for the poor. His adviser on medical ethics said St. Joseph's has eased the way for people covered by the plan who want contraception and sterilization, even if the hospital is not directly involved.

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From "Abortion fight at Catholic hospital pushes ACLU to seek federal help" by Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer 12/22/10

"We continue to applaud St. Joseph's for doing what is right by standing up for women's health and complying with federal law," five ACLU attorneys wrote in a letter to Donald Berwick, the CMS administrator, and his deputy, Marilyn Tavenner.

"But this confrontation never should have happened in the first place, because no hospital - religious or otherwise - should be prohibited from saving women's lives and from following federal law."

The letter was a follow-up to a complaint the ACLU sent to CMS in July asking for a federal investigation of similar problems at Catholic hospitals across the country, including refusals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims or perform abortions on women having miscarriages.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.